Thursday 31 May 2007 

PNG & Argentina Earn WCL Div3 Semi Final Spots

Papua New Guinea (PNG) recorded a comprehensive victory over Italy and in doing so earned a place in the Semi-Finals of the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 event.

Placed third in Pool A coming into the match, PNG needed to defeat Italy by a considerable margin to overtake the Pool A leaders on net run rate. PNG did just that, producing their best performance of the tournament.

Italy Captain Joe Scuderi won the toss and elected to bat on a slow wicket at Nightcliff Oval.

PNG opening bowlers Hitolo Areni (1/10 off 7 overs) and Loa Nou (1/20 off 8) restricted the Italian batsmen early in their innings and were rewarded with the wicket of Scuderi.

It was the spin bowling of Jamie Brazier (3/18 off 10) and Mahuta Kivung (3/31 off 10) that did most of the damage however as Italy scrambled their way to 9/134 off their allocated 50 overs.

PNG began their innings needing to reach their target of 135 within 40.1 overs. Opening batsmen Arua Uda (58 off 92 balls) and Frank Doura (20 off 47) started positively with PNG progressing to 53 before the latter was bowled trying to cut leg-spinner Jayasena.

John Ovia (26 not out off 49) joined Uda and produced a match-winning partnership that took PNG within striking distance of victory. Uda fell in the 31st over with PNG still requiring 18 runs however a quick fire 14 off 11 balls from Brazier saw PNG over line in the 34th over.

Uda was named Man of the Match as PNG secured second place in Pool A and a position in the Semi-Finals.

PNG Coach Api Leka commented on the match: "We knew we had to have a big win today to keep our chances alive and the boys got the result we wanted. Our bowling was again of a high standard and we executed our batting plan well for the first time in this tournament. Hopefully we can take this form into tomorrow's Semi-Final against Uganda."

Full scorecards are available here.

PNG will now play Uganda in the Semi-Final after the African team finished on top of Pool B.

Argentina secured a place in the Semi-Finals of the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 event with a resounding victory over Fiji.

Fiji lost the toss and was sent in to bat by Argentina who were buoyed by their impressive performances in the first two matches of the tournament.

Fiji got off to the worst possible start when opening batsman Josefa Rika was bowled on the first ball of the day by a swinging delivery from paceman Gary Savage. This set the scene for what would turn out to be a day to forget for Fiji who found themselves 7/9 off 8 overs and then all out for 44 in the 22nd over.

Argentina's three-pronged pace attack of Savage, Estaban Nino and Diego Lord shared the spoils in the most destructive bowling performance of the tournament.

Argentina's opening batsmen made light work of the 45 required for victory, reaching their target in only 5 overs.

Nino was named Man of the Match for his 4 wickets as Argentina rejoiced in their startling emergence and Fiji pondered what might have been.

Fiji will now play Tanzania in the Plate Semi-Final with 5th place the best possible outcome for the Pacific team.

Fiji Captain Seci Tuiwai commented on the match:
"We were simply not good enough today. Argentina bowled well and we were unable to get our innings started. We are very disappointed with our performances in this tournament so far and we will be trying to turn this around in our two remaining matches."

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